ETUCE has been granted a project by the European Commission, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, on investment in education and the involvement of teacher unions across Europe in the European Semester of economic governance.  The project – titled: “Investing in Education: Strengthening the involvement of teacher trade unions in the European Semester on education and training” - will be kicked off on 1 November 2015 and it will run for 24 months. DLF (Denmark) as the project co-applicant and MUT (Malta), ESTUS (Slovenia), FLC-CGIL (Italy) and FLESTU (Lithuania) as project partners will constitute the Advisory Group of the project.

ETUCE has been concerned about decreasing investment in education and the lack of participation of teacher trade unions in the European Semester policy coordination in many European countries. Recently, some trends have emerged which require teacher unions to take further actions. Firstly, the Country Specific Recommendations of the European Semester have been covering extensively education and training priorities including several sectors and topics such as early childhood education, early school leaving, teachers’ professional development, adult learning, and so on. Secondly, in spite of the many calls from the European Commission on Member states to protect investments on growth-friendly areas, many Member states have cut investment in education. This was mainly due to the financial situation resulting from the economic crisis, and the continuous demands to bring down public debt and to pursue fiscal consolidation in the framework of the European Semester. Thirdly, such strict economic coordination and budget surveillance has encouraged governments to look for other ways of financing education e.g. by promoting public/private partnership in education or by widening the space for private, commercial and financial actors in education. Therefore, we consider it is high time to investigate the role of teacher unions and how to become more involved in this process.

During the project life-time, five regional trainings will be delivered to ETUCE member organisations across Europe. The training will provide teacher trade unions with the competences, specific knowledge and understanding they need to strengthen their involvement in the European Semester and to enhance their contribution to the European and national policy making on education and training. They will also discuss how to enhance cooperation with other actors, such as governments, employers and other trade unions. Furthermore, an extensive research will be conducted to find out the effects of the European Semester on reforms and investments in education and training and the involvement of teacher unions in the European Semester process.

The closing conference of the project in June 2017 will allow teacher trade unions to discuss further actions to be more involved in the European Semester on education and training. The dissemination of the research outcomes and the training material will raise awareness on the European policy making and coordination to reach Europe2020 targets on education and training. Thus, this project continues the work that ETUCE and its member organisations have started with the adoption of the ETUCE Action Plan on the European Semester and links to the declaration of the European Social Partners ‘Social partners involvement in European economic governance’ and to the EC Communication ‘Strengthening the social dimension of the economic and monetary union’.

Click here to know more about ETUCE activity on the European Semester.